Adam Doueihi was at the centre of it all as the Wests Tigers recorded their first win since round three against Newcastle, today downing the Dragons 16-8 at WIN Stadium.
The Tigers proved to be too good in the end for St George Illawarra on Sunday afternoon in Wollongong. It was a game in which the Dragons would've been expecting to come away with the two points, especially given the Tigers performance last week against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. The loss extends the Dragons' current losing streak to three games now and they'll view it as a missed opportunity to establish themselves in sixth place and now are on the same points as the seventh placed Warriors.
It was the perfect start for the home team, with rookie winger Cody Ramsey scoring in the eighth minute. The try would've had Tigers' fans moaning all over the country and preparing for what looked like it was going to be another tough afternoon for the joint venture. The Tigers looked non-threatening in the opening half. An earlier penalty goal allowed the Dragons to lead by six for the first twenty-odd minutes of the clash until the Tigers struck back thanks to a nice bit of work from David Nofoaluma, who batted back a Luke Brooks bomb to Tommy Talau, who strolled over untouched to level the scores.
It only took the Dragons five minutes after that to take back the lead, after the ill-disciplined Tigers gave another penalty away in front of their goals which Corey Norman converted with ease. The remainder of the half was quite underwhelming and to be honest, wasn't the greatest half of football we've seen this year - nonetheless the Dragons entered break with a two point lead. It did feel like they'd missed an opportunity to pile more points on the Tigers who coughed the ball up five times and gave away a further six combined penalties and set restarts. St George Illawarra also failed to capitalise on the wind that they were playing with behind their back and it felt like they've left the door open for the visitors to come back in the second half.
The second half began in empathic fashion for the Tigers, who thought they'd scored earlier on in the half through debutant Zac Cini but it was ruled a knock-on in the aerial contest. However, it was only a few moments later that Cini would get another chance to score his first NRL try after capitalising from a scrum just 10 metres out from their own try line. It will be a special memory from the debutant who scored in front of his home-town mates in what was an impressive debut. The Tigers started to get the ball moving after they took the lead. The Red V did well to hang on at stages during the second half, but the away team were too strong through the middle, thanks to their outside backs and an extremely good 20-minute stint from Thomas Miakele who ran for 68 metres - half of those post-contact - and was able to offload twice whilst also breaking two tackles.
The Dragons had no answers for the Tigers once they'd taken the lead, and where the visiting side were able to clean up their act in the second half, the Dragons failed to do so - making eight errors and giving away five penalties in the second half.
It wasn't until the 65th minute when Joey Leilua scored for the Tigers that it felt like the game was out of reach for the home side. Daine Laurie did a brilliant job to isolate Leilua one-on-one with Jack Bird in their own 10 metres and Leilua shrugged Bird's attempted tackle as he cruised over to extend the Tigers lead. The successful conversion made it a two score lead which seemed to be enough to put the Dragons to bed.
Ahead by eight, they managed the game well in the closing stages, Luke Brooks able to come up with a repeat set late in the game and Doueihi was excellent kicking into the corners. In context, it's big win for the Tigers which will get them excited for their clash with the Gold Coast next weekend. Meanwhile the Dragons host the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at Kogarah as they hope to end their current three game losing streak.